Alibaba Unveils New Platform To Battle Counterfeits

Source: Alizila Date: July 1, 2016

Alibaba Group has announced a new online platform aimed at streamlining the takedown process available to brands in the fight against counterfeits on the Chinese company’s e-commerce platforms.

The Intellectual Property Joint-Force System will give participating brands a dedicated online portal and account manager to better facilitate the removal of counterfeits from Alibaba sites Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com. The portal will allow brands to confirm potential IP violations found by Alibaba as part of its regular monitoring efforts, after which the company will remove the offending products.

“The IP Joint-Force System is a revolutionary industry solution that will redefine how IP enforcement is conducted in the digital age, where brands and e-commerce marketplaces must work collectively and strategically to combat counterfeiters,” Matthew Bassiur, Alibaba’s head of global IP enforcement, said in a statement.

Alibaba launched the new system on Friday during its inaugural Rights Holders Collaboration Summit, held in Hangzhou, China. International brands such as Louis Vuitton, Apple, Mars and Hewlett-Packard were in attendance, as were trade associations such as the Chinese British Business Council. In the statement, Alibaba said the summit was an attempt to engage those brands and the IP enforcement community at large as part of its battle against counterfeits.

The new IP Joint-Force System is the company’s latest IP-focused initiative. Last August, Alibaba released an English-language version of its online complaints reporting platform, TaoProtect, to make the takedown process more accessible for Western brands. It then created the Good-Faith Takedown Program to expedite the procedure—in which companies must submit evidence that a listing is fake—granting brands with a successful track record of complaints to request the immediate removal of infringing products.

The IP Joint-Force System takes the Good-Faith Takedown Program one step further by building on Alibaba’s existing relationships with the over 700 brands participating in the program. The two sides will collaborate via the new online portals, with Alibaba alerting brands to suspicious listings that it is unable to verify on its own. Brands can then notify Alibaba of those products that violate their intellectual property rights, at which point Alibaba immediately removes the listings as it would for any “good faith” takedown request.

“This two-way communication stream is critical in creating a feedback loops that will continue to improve the speed and accuracy at which Alibaba is able to determine the authenticity of a product,” the company said.

The anti-counterfeit system will roll out in phases, with 180 companies including Adidas, Procter & Gamble and Philips, in addition to Apple and Mars, taking part in phase one. Alibaba said it expects the system to be available to all members of the Good-Faith Takedown Program, though no timeline was given for when the rollout would be completed.

Jessie Zheng, chief platform governance officer at Alibaba, said in the statement that both brands and online marketplaces will face new enforcement challenges as e-commerce continues to evolve. “As the leading online marketplace, we have a responsibility to all of our constituents to govern our platform and find innovative solutions,” she said.